Hello, everyone! Thank you for the warm reception to my new position here at UCN. I am excited as we continue to successfully move through a successful year of religious and spiritual education at UCN.
Having attended the RE listening sessions as a Board Trustee and DRE Liaison I was able to hear many great ideas and a general sense of the values that UCN families would like to see become a prominent part of the RE program. Incorporating the values, wishes, hopes, and dreams voiced at these meetings, this upcoming year UCN will run a thematic, multi-generational Religious Education (RE) program.
Multigenerational means that children will not be divided into classrooms based on age. Exceptions will include the COA (Coming of Age) curriculum, Building Bridges (A World Religions curriculum for middle school and high school students) and OWL (Our Whole Lives-a comprehensive sexuality curriculum for middle school and high school students).
The themes for the upcoming year are derived from our worship calendar as well as the curriculum for a course directed at the adults who serve as spiritual leaders to the younger members of our church community. The title of the course is called Parents as Spiritual Guides, but parents, grandparents, RE volunteers and other interested adults are encouraged to attend. The themes include Water, Community, Wonder, Courage, Justice, Faith, and Rituals & Celebrations.
The children’s programs will be run in cooperation with families and interested members of the congregation. The curriculum will be thematic utilizing lessons from the Tapestry of Faith’s collection of curricula from the UUA, materials from Soul Matters, and activities from Perspectives for a Diverse America from Teaching Tolerance of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Each lesson will begin with a common centering prayer or child-friendly worship service. Assistant teachers and other volunteers will then help the DRE to oversee a variety of learning centers related to the day’s specific, thematic lesson. This is SUPER EXCITING as it means there will be opportunities for adults from the congregation to participate in many small ways like teaching a song to a group of children, supervising a science activity, helping with an art project or reading a story.
Adult classes will take place monthly on “Family Fridays” (we will skip December). On each Family Friday, children, and youth will participate in a variety of fun, social activities. While adults are introduced to the theme that the children will be studying for the following month. The goals of the adult portion of the program are as follows:
- To explore one’s own spiritual journey
- To keep a journal of one’s own insights, affirmations, and questions
- To explore ways to provide spiritual experiences for children
- To appreciate the important role of parents (and others) in their children’s spiritual development
- To gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their own or others’ children
- To companion one another on the pilgrimage
The hope is that each “parent-teacher class” will better equip the adults of the congregation to support the children and youth in their quests for understanding UUism.
I’m looking forward to this year and all of the great things that we can accomplish together.
Director of Lifespan Faith Development